Amid Growing Coronavirus Pandemic, Brindisi and Stefanik Call on Secretary of Defense to Retrofit Upstate Hospitals and Facilities To Treat Coronavirus Patients

Up to the Minute

From the office of Congressman Anthony Brindisi:

Brindisi and Stefanik, New York’s Only Members of the House Armed Services Committee, Urge Administration To Include Upstate In Their Plans 

Members: Our Communities Stand Ready To Support Coronavirus Response Efforts

Following more than 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York and a state of emergency for New York State, Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) urged Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to use Department of Defense personnel to consider retrofitting old hospitals and facilities across Upstate. Brindisi and Stefanik noted the shortage of facilities and thanked Secretary Esper for the Army Corps work so far.

“Our nation is at a critical point in the national response to the coronavirus pandemic,” Brindisi and Stefanik wrote. “We know that the Department of Defense is working closely with other Departments and public health officials to respond to this crisis. We are particularly concerned with the shortage of hospital beds, certain medical supplies and personal protective equipment, and facilities to accommodate patients. We strongly encourage you to consider Upstate New York when deploying these resources, including communities across New York’s 21st  and 22nd districts.”

Earlier this month, Brindisi and Stefanik urged the President to declare New York state a disaster area. Days later, the President heeded their call and declared New York a disaster area freeing up critical resources.

Brindisi and Stefanik serve on the House Armed Services Committee, the committee of oversight for the Department of Defense. Their letter to Secretary Esper is below:

Secretary Esper, 

Our nation is at a critical point in the national response to the coronavirus pandemic. We know that the Department of Defense is working closely with other Departments and public health officials to respond to this crisis. We are particularly concerned with the shortage of hospital beds, certain medical supplies and personal protective equipment, and facilities to accommodate patients.

We appreciate your commitment to deploy the Army Corps of Engineers to New York in short order to assess the situation and see how the Department of Defense can help address this pandemic. We strongly encourage you to consider Upstate New York when deploying these resources, including communities across New York’s 21st and 22nd districts.

As you know, Governor Cuomo has called on the Army Corps of Engineers to retrofit state buildings in an effort to increase the number of hospital beds. We support this effort and would also like to encourage you to consider retrofitting old hospital facilities that are no longer operating but could serve a large number of patients and accelerate our country’s response. We are proud of the response our Upstate New York community has provided so far in the face of this unprecedented situation, and I know our communities stand ready to further support the Department and other agencies with the response effort.

We are very interested to hear the Department’s plan for the deployment of the Army Corps of Engineers to Upstate New York, and encourage you to keep Upstate and rural communities in mind when making deployment decisions in the near future. Our communities, along with the rest of the state, will certainly be in need of assistance as we continue to address this public health crisis. 

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